By Innovation-sa on April 8, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia will open its first cinema in over three decades on April 18 in Riyadh, after the ban on cinema was lifted last year as part of the Kingdom’s liberalization drive.

Last year, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) partnered with US movie exhibition company AMC Entertainment Holdings to explore and invest in cinema business in the Kingdom.

The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information granted a license to AMC Entertainment to open 40 cinemas across 15 Saudi cities over the next five years.

“AMC plans to open the Kingdom’s first cinema theatre in Riyadh on April 18,”, the information ministry’s Centre for International Communication said in a statement.

The cinemas will not be segregated by gender like several other public places in the Kingdom and the first screening will be Marvel’s superhero movie “Black Panther”, a source told Reuters on Wednesday.

To serve a population of more than 32 million, most of whom are under the age of 30, Saudi Arabia plans to set up around 350 cinemas with more than 2,500 screens across the Kingdom by 2030.

The reforms are part of an economic motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom reels from an oil crash since 2014 and cinemas are expected to generate a revenue of more than $1 billion in ticket sales annually.